Posts Tagged ‘Megabus’

Tax Roundup, 12/26/2012: legislator wants a $310 million train set for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

Iowa’s legislators get $800 million to play with for Christmas. Naturally, many of them think they can spend it better than those of us who gave it to them, based on a Des Moines Register report today quoting a bunch of prominent state politicians.

For example, Joe Bolkcom, Iowa City Democrat and Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee:

“We have a silent crisis in the number of kids and the number of our children living in poverty in our state,” Bolkcom said. “One of my top priorities will be addressing that crisis as a matter of tax policy. We need to use some of this tax surplus to make a substantial boost in the earned income tax credit.”

Bolkcom also favors appropriating $20 million as a state match to help  secure an $87 million Federal Railroad Administration grant to establish passenger train service between the Quad Cities and Iowa City, a move he says would create hundreds of jobs.

That’s two awful ideas.  As we have pointed out, increasing Iowa’s earned income credit would impose a brutal combined effective income tax rate of over 50% on low income workers — rewarding dependency and punishing taxpayers for emerging from poverty.

20121226-1And for the passenger rail plan — that’s ten kinds of crazy.  With the Megabus making three daily runs between Chicago and Iowa City for no more than $39.50 — and for as little as $1.50 — it’s hard to imagine a less urgent priority than pouring $20 million into a $310 million federal-state boondoggle to establish rail service that will lose millions annually selling $42 tickets for slower service.

Unfortunately, none of the politicians quoted by the Register proposes using the surplus to overhaul Iowa’s dysfunctional and business-hostile income tax. There is a better way:  Lower the rates, simplify the system, repeal the job-killing corporation income tax, and eliminate the corporate welfare deductions and tax credits.  In other words, The Quick and Dirty Iowa Tax Reform Plan.

Related:  You’d better waste your $20 million, or we won’t waste our $80 million!

 

Fiscal Cliff Notes

Kay Bell,  With the Mayan end of world threat over, it’s time to focus on the fiscal cliff

Can I return it?  AMT, the Gift You Don’t Have to Wrap!  (Trish McIntire)

 

Paul Neiffer,  One Week to Go Checklist

Missouri Tax Guy, Can an LLC be Taxed as an S Corp

Jason Dinesen,  Dinesen Tax Greatest Hits – The 5 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2012

Scott Hodge,  Taxing Guns to Pay for Cops in Classrooms? A bad idea to fund another bad idea.

That’s the way to bet, anyway.  Sometimes the Cynics Are Right  (Russ Fox)

Loss carryforwards?  Why Santa Won’t Owe Any Income Taxes This Year (TaxGrrrl)

Robert D. Flach won’t let the post-holiday letdown kill his Buzz!

Because I want to finish reading the phone book first?  Why Not Read the Entire Sales Tax Statute? (Jim Maule)

Share

Off the rails

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 by Joe Kristan

The federal government has decided to spend $218 million that it doesn’t have on railroad track repairs between Chicago and Iowa City. The State of Iowa will throw in $20 million it doesn’t have, all to enable Amtrak to start losing money forever at $42 per ticket to run trains that will take five hours to make the trip, on the occasional day that Amtrak is on time.
This is because it is important to provide a less reliable and more expensive alternative to the Megabus, which, with federal subsidies of $0, runs comfortable and reliable coaches with wi-fi on the same route in four hours at costs of $1.50 to $36. And it makes money.
Does anyone believe it will really cost “only” $218 million? And they wonder why people aren’t excited about tax increases.

20100428-1.jpg

Flickr image courtesy Hunterrrr under Creative Commons license


Related:
Crazy Train
But where will they put the zeppelin port?
Well, $310 million is a lot of green…
Enhanced by Zemanta

Share

Well, $310 million is a lot of green…

Saturday, August 7th, 2010 by Joe Kristan

In today’s Des Moines Register:

State transportation agencies in Iowa and Illinois have submitted a joint application seeking $248 million in federal money to establish daily passenger train service between Chicago and Iowa City via the Quad Cities, Gov. Chet Culver said Friday.

The states would kick in other money — Iowa would throw in $20.6 million — to bring the total cost to $310 million for a passenger rail link to Iowa City. But it’s not just a train ride:
The new application proposes a “GreenLine” approach that would include environmentally friendly efforts in construction, operation and local development related to the railroad project, Culver said.
This includes running the train using biofuels, using recycled materials where possible in construction, using locally grown foods and environmentally friendly packaging in food services, installing “green” station upgrades to reduce utility costs and increase efficiencies, and encouraging pedestrian friendly development around rail stations.

Well, that’s one approach. There’s another approach that costs approximately $310 million less up front. It was demonstrated in Downtown Des Moines this morning:
20100807-1.JPG
Not only does this amazing technology cover the Iowa City to Chicago route, it also goes to Des Moines. It goes all the way from Des Moines to Chicago in approximately six hours – 3 hours 50 minutes from Iowa City. That’s approximately one hour faster than the promised Iowa City to Chicago rail time. It costs passengers from $1 to $26 to go from Iowa City to Chicago. That compares to a projected cost of $42 for the train, and operating subsidies from the taxpayer that would likely be at least as much per passenger.
So: we have the Megabus offering energy-efficient twice-daily transportation in under four hours from Iowa City to Chicago for $26 or less, at no marginal cost to the taxpayer. We could spend $310 million to make possible a route that would take an hour longer and cost passengers $42 per trip, on top of a big annual taxpayer subsidy. But for the $310+ million, we would also get a…
…train using biofuels, using recycled materials where possible in construction, using locally grown foods and environmentally friendly packaging in food services, installing “green” station upgrades to reduce utility costs and increase efficiencies, and encouraging pedestrian friendly development around rail stations.

That’s a big pile of green. That’s why we need to have taxes go up.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Share